This is my mom. She’s 84, and almost this time last year, she started slurring her words and has difficulty forming and finishing sentences. It’s been so challenging to guide and support her in this time since we don’t know what she wants or needs sometimes. She also has had a persistent and sometimes aggressive cough for the past three years or so. The doctors have said it’s asthma. I believe it’s phlegm buildup and her body has difficulty eliminating it. And now, a new diagnosis: ALS.
This isn’t a full diagnosis since that would take many tests and my dad doesn’t think my mom will be patient enough for all the tests. But it makes sense.. it’s very possible her speech issues are due to ALS. And she sometimes has difficulty swallowing. And there are times her coughs come out in a burst, right as she’s eating, and she will cough, cough and cough. And her face will sometimes be a mixture of fear and distress. And it hurts to see her in those moments. Her body gets warm with these coughing fits. I gently pat her back while she works through whatever she’s working through. I wish she didn’t get these coughing fits.
The doctor prescribed something for the phlegm, but my mom read one of the side effects is Glaucoma and she won’t take it. This is an inhaled medicine, and now the only other options are liquid or pills. Liquids can be fine, but pills are frequently a problem or iffy.
She’s mobile and can take care of herself. She doesn’t talk nearly as much as she used to, which makes spending time with her sad. Eerie. Creepy. Honestly, she used to talk too much before, and now she’s entirely silent. When she does talk we frequently don’t understand what she’s trying to say.
I hope be check in more often with updates, thoughts and feelings about her, since I’ve recently moved from Atlanta into my parent’s basement. I hope I can help my dad with “Mom Duty” as I call it, to give him a break. I have been cooking some for them. And of course, generally visiting.